Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Initiative Hits the Road to South Dakota!

Kelly Stellrecht and I recently returned from the Sioux Falls area where I met many dedicated advocates working to help elders achieve economic security across the state.

Experience Works, who is our lead partner in the state, hosted a meeting for their partners to discuss the Initiative and how it will increase their capacity to advocate for seniors. Representatives from Experience Works across the state were there along with staff members from Senators Johnson and Thune’s offices, Volunteers of America, USDA, AARP, Rosebud Indian Reservation and Adult Services and Aging.

Shirley Stuart, State Director of Experience Works welcomes the group.

Learning about the South Dakota Initiative.
The event provided a great opportunity to introduce the framework and tools behind the Initiative, including the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index), and began preliminary discussions on policy priorities to promote elder economic security in South Dakota. Also at the meeting, the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston presented draft Elder Index data to the group showing what it really costs to retire in three counties in the state. When the Elder Index is officially released this fall, data for all 66 counties will be available.

Their work is important as more than one in four seniors in South Dakota relies on Social Security as their only source of income, amounting to an average income of $10,941/year for women and $14,826/year for men. Additionally, 11% of elders are living below the federal poverty level of $10,890 a year for an individual. The Argus Leader recently highlighted the needs of seniors in South Dakota and the efforts underway through the Initiative.

The South Dakota Initiative is brimming with ideas of how to educate the public and push for public policies that help seniors achieve economic security. Ideas centered on creating a clearinghouse for available services and organizing transportation for seniors in rural communities. Over the next few months, they will develop a robust policy agenda to accompany the Elder Index for South Dakota.

Find out more about the South Dakota Initiative and get involved if you live in the state!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Elder Initiative Launches in Colorado

Today the Elder Economic Security Initiative™ officially launched in Colorado!

Our state partner, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, hosted an event focusing on long-term care and family economic security, cosponsored by the African American Caregivers Association. Speakers discussed the Elder Index, which includes data on what it costs for elders to make ends meet in each county. This marks the 14th state to launch the Elder Economic Security Initiative.

Check out the media coverage of the release so far:
The Colorado reports are now available online: